Post-doctoral Scholars and Graduate Students

Chelsea Anorma

Post-doctoral Scholar

Ph.D. Chemical Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2020

B.S. Chemistry with concentration in Biochemistry, UCI, 2014

Fun Fact: While on the drive to move to California, Chelsea stopped to get gas in Catoosa, OK and noticed a small pet store was going out of business. Always wanting a pet, she decided it was a sign and adopt all of the remaining animals. What’s even more surprising is she defied the odds by making the rest of the 1400 mile journey with three miniature bunny rabbits, a crested gecko, a chocolate lab puppy, and one betta fish in her meticulously maintained 1993 Geo Metro.

Megha Unhelkar

Analytical Chemistry Graduate Student

M.S. Pharmacology, Northeastern University, 2013
B.S. Pharmacy, University of Mumbai, 2011

Fun Fact: While hiking across the Rockies last summer, Megha adopted a baby puma. “It was the most magical eight minutes of life before we were nearly mauled,” she said.

Jessica Kelz

Chemical and Materials Physics (ChaMP – Chemistry) Graduate Student

B.S. Chemistry, Mandarin Chinese Minor, US Naval Academy, 2008

Fun Fact: While abroad before graduate school, Jessica spent over a year teaching children how to yodel. “If yodeling isn’t music, then I don’t know what music is” she says.

Marc Anthony Sprague-Piercy

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Graduate Student

B.S. Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, University of California – Irvine, 2015

Fun Fact: Marc thinks he’s funny. Example: What did the fish say when he hit a concrete wall? ‘Dam’.

Brenna Norton-Baker

Organic Chemistry Graduate Student

B.S. Biochemistry, B.A. Chemistry, College of Charleston, 2015

Fun Fact: When not working in lab, Brenna can be found woodworking. Her most notable works are a 15 foot tall replica Trojan horse and 1/100 scale model of the the Eiffel Tower!

Jose Uribe

Physical Chemistry Graduate Student

B.S. Chemistry, Cal State San Bernadino, 2018

Fun Fact: He is a light sleeper, but probably not the way you’d think. Most nights he sleeps with his eyes open so any stray light will wake him up. He says, it’s not as bad as it sounds though because at least he doesn’t have to worry about loud neighbors.

Megan Rocha

Chemical Biology Graduate Student

B.A. Chemistry, Whitman College, 2017

Fun Fact: Megan has a recurring dream about burrito babies, so now she insists on naming each one of the burritos she orders. Some of her favorites are Vegeta (vegetarian), Hamilton (carnitas), and Keegan (vegan).

Marquise Crosby

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Graduate Student

B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Wright State University, 2019

Fun Fact: His League of Legends screen name is Cardi B. He has an app that generates sound bites of her and uses only that to communicate with teammates during the game…OKURRR?!

Gemma Takahashi

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Graduate Student

B.S. Geobiology, California Institute of Technology, 2019

Fun Fact: Gemma insists that the only way to cut a grilled cheese, is along the cheese.

Undergraduate Researchers

Diana Duong

Chemistry Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: She enjoys cooking for family and friends. An easy to make snack is one of her favorite things to share: Kool-Aid pickles.

David Einstein

Biological Sciences Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: David plays a five string bass guitar in an air band named “Consequence of Sound.”

Vesta Farahmand

Chemistry Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: She is an avid hiker. As a way to pay tribute to hikes that she particularly enjoyed she personally crafts trail-mixes that that remind her of the experience on that trip.

Alexandra Garabedian

Chemistry Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: She loves travelling and skiing with her family in the Alps. A big fan of the movie “Cool Runnings”, she carries a lucky egg with her whenever first attempting a new piste.

Ashley Kwok

Chemistry Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: Ashley is the proud owner of a rescue ferret named Mossbauer. One of her dreams is for Mossbauer to qualify to compete at the Chatsworth County Fair which is known as the Kentucky Derby of ferret racing. 

Chieh-Ting Pu

Chemistry Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: Chieh-Ting was once hypnotized as part of a magic show and the experience has definitely had a lasting impact. Although rare, he will sometimes cluck like a chicken and hasn’t figured out the trigger.

Fatemeh Safrizadeh

Chemistry Major, (2020 Expected)

Fun Fact: She is a fan of learning languages. In addition to being fluent in Farsi and English, she is also conversational in Klingon and Elvish.

Eduardo Sanchez

Biological Sciences Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: Eduardo is working on making his own skateboarding trick of doing a Casper into an Anti Casper flip. He plans to call it the Pheonix.

Quynh Ton

Chemistry Major / Biology Minor (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: Despite being a mere ¾ mile walk away she has yet to try Taco Bell. She is down to “Live Mas” but with In-N-Out next-door she just can’t bring herself to “Think Outside The Bun”.

Shengdong Wang

Chemistry Major (2020, Expected)

Fun Fact: Most people respond by yawning when they see someone else yawn. Shengdong is prone to involuntarily sneezing when he sees someone yawn.

TJ Cross

Chemistry Major, (2021 Expected)

Fun Fact: He once had a “cat”astrophe that required him to rush out of class and to an emergency vet. He had recently felted a hat for his cat which almost choked on it. Being intelligent creatures it can only be assumed that the act of ingesting the hat was a vain effort to maintain its dignity.

Elliott Einstein

Biology Major / Chemistry Minor (2021, Expected)

Fun Fact: He intentionally pops his lab coat collar. Not only is it more safety conscious, but as a fan of tennis, he claims it helps him “get his head in the game” in lab.

Allison Pineda

Biology Major (2021, Expected)

Fun Fact: Allison enjoys watching horror films but does have an interesting phobia. She is scared of the sound of cracking knuckles (Condylacousticophobia).

Sofiya Momoko Woodcock

Double Major in Chemistry and Criminology, Law, and Society (2021, Expected)

Fun Fact: Sofiya is a saber fencer. To get amped up for a match she uses the mantra “My name is Sofiya Woodcock. You assaulted my plastron. Prepare to die!”

Pauniz Shabakesaz

Fun Fact: Pauniz loves owls, so when she was a kid she memorized the distinct hoots of over 15 different species. She is capable of mimicking a few and she is most proud of her impression of the Eastern Screech Owl.